A cheerleader on the West Coast has pulled out the yellow flag and is calling a penalty over wages. While her claim is not being brought under New York or federal laws, the story is a timely reminder of age and hour laws that are aimed at protecting workers from being cheated out of wages. Earlier this month we discussed the increase in recent wage and hour disputes that have been cropping up across the country.
The New York Department of Labor says that under state law, the minimum wage in New York rose to $8.00 an hour on December 31, 2013. While minimum wages are a hot-button topic in recent years, wage and hour disputes may involve a variety of issues--starting with minimum wage disputes and extending to other allegations. Many employers have been misclassifying workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act to avoid paying overtime in many lawsuits over unfair pay.
In the recent cheerleader lawsuit, the woman says that with all of the events, appearances and other obligations under her employment contract as a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders she is making only about $5.00 per hour.
Her employment law attorney says that the employment contract itself is rife with illegal provisions.
While the woman’s lawyer says that the employment contract contains unlawful provisions, it appears that the current litigation only involves the pay issue and seeks damages and unpaid wages under employment laws in that state.
The woman hopes her case will gain class-action status for the benefit of other cheerleaders in that state. The case is being pursued under state employment laws. The team has declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Source: Reuters, “Oakland Raiders cheerleader sues team, claims unfair pay,” Jan. 22, 2014